86. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Justice the number of gardaí assigned to the Donegal division in each of the years 2016 to 2020 and to date in 2021; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [51723/21]


Deputy James Browne: I thank Deputy Pringle for raising this important matter of Garda numbers in County Donegal.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda Commissioner is responsible, under the Garda Síochána Act 2005, for the deployment of An Garda Síochána throughout the State and for the management and administration of Garda business, including the recruitment and training of Garda members and staff. As Minister of State, I play no direct role in these independent functions. I am assured, however, that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of policing priorities and crime trends, to ensure their optimum use.
I am pleased that budget 2022 reflects the commitment of the Government to ensuring our communities are safe and that An Garda Síochána has the resources to be an effective and trusted policing service. The budget provided by the Government to the Garda Commissioner continues to increase to unprecedented levels, with an allocation of €1.952 billion for 2021. Budget 2022 provides for more than €2 billion in funding.
I am informed by the Garda authorities that the number of gardaí assigned to the Donegal division in each of the years from 2016 to 2020 is as follows: 382 in 2016; 386 in 2017; 404 in 2018; 460 in 2019; and 462 in 2020. At 30 September 2021, there were 449 gardaí assigned to Donegal division. While I acknowledge there has been a year-on-year drop in 2021 compared with the 2020 number, this year's figure represents an increase of almost 18% since 2016.
As the Deputy may be aware, Covid-19 restrictions on the Garda Training College in Templemore constrained recruitment and training for periods over the last 18 months. I am glad to confirm, however, that 450 gardaí will be recruited this year and the funding provided for next year fully supports an additional 800 gardaí and 400 staff being recruited.